William Gaston Awards 2003

The 2003 recipients include:

Steve P. Epperson

Steve Epperson has served on the Pathways Mental Health Board for the past ten years. During that time he served as Treasurer for two years, and as the Board Chair for two years. His work on the Board advocating for those with mental health issues has been vital to the community, particularly in the past year or so as Pathways has prepared to undergo major restructuring as part of the State's Mental Health Reform Plan.

In addition to the Pathways Board, Steve has been a member of the Gastonia Noon Civitan Club since the early '80s and was appointed to the North Carolina Council of Community Programs Board in 2001, where he currently serves as treasurer.

Steve is known for being extremely conscientious and thoughtful in his decision-making. As a self-employed CPA, Steve often finds himself on the financial side of things and is described as being very open to sharing his financial expertise.

Steve likes to keep a low profile and doesn't want recognition for his volunteer work. It came as no surprise to other members of his Board that upon learning he would receive the William Gaston award, Steve's first words were "there are other more deserving people."

Steve, the Gaston County Board of Commissioners thinks you are deserving of the William Gaston Award. When you have someone who is willing to serve on a Board for ten years, it demonstrates a real commitment to making Gaston County a better place.

George H. Jaggers, Jr.

George Jaggers, Jr. has been an active, vital member of the Gaston County Community for 30 years. All recipients of the Gaston Award must currently be serving on a Gaston County Board. George is a member of the Gaston County Human Relations Commission…a Board he has served on continuously for the past 28 years. His fellow Board members credit his many years of experience for his ability to maintain a historical perspective and understand the nature of how tensions are created. As a result, George is known for addressing issues in a more sensitive manner. His dedication and caring for his fellow man, as demonstrated by his service on this Board alone would make George deserving of this award, but his involvement does not stop there.

George is no stranger to public office. He served on the Dallas Board of Alderman for 18 years. He helped organize the Dallas Rescue and served on the Board of Directors for 29 years. Other organizations that have had the good fortune to have George on their team over the years include the Gaston Boys and Girls Club, the United Way, Cancer Services of Gaston County, the Transportation Advisory Committee, the Mediation Center of the Southern Piedmont, and the Centralina Council of Government.

George is described as being quiet, but consistent… a true ambassador. He has received many awards over the years, including having a park named after him in Dallas.

Sarah Knowles

Sarah Knowles has been a member of the Gaston College Board of trustees for the past 12 years. During that time, she has served on the 35th Anniversary Celebration Committee, the President's Inauguration Committee, Student Affairs Committee, Personnel Committee, and Facilities Committee. As a retired teacher from the public school system, her input into the accreditation process was extremely valuable. She is known as a tireless worker who is very positive and proactive in promoting Gaston College.

Sarah has also served 20 years on the Gastonia Housing Authority…10 of those years as its chairperson. And she has been an active member of the Republican Party. In 1974, Sarah was named North Carolina Republican Woman of the Year, she was recognized by the National Federation of Republican Women for outstanding service in 1990, and in 2000, received The Gaston County Republican of the Year Award.

Sarah has demonstrated true leadership in the community and is a friend of everyone she meets.